Monday, February 15, 2010

Amazing Thailand! We spent our weekend at one of thee, if not the, most beautiful place we have visited in our time here. Sangkhlaburi is near the border with Burma (Myanmar, for you fans of military dictatorships) and is is a hidden gem in our opinion. Situated on a giant reservoir and ringed by mountains in three directions it picturesque and then some. We arrived early on Saturday morning after an arduous bus ride up, down, around and through innumerable mountain passes. Thankfully we just finished a unit on prepositions...Anyway, the beauty of the town is found not only in the natural surroundings but also in the people that live there. Two groups make up the majority of the population, the Mon and the Karen people from neighboring Burma. Most eek out a living as fishermen, farmers or working in one the guesthouses that ring the lake. Friendly as a Minnesotan at a fish fry, the local welcomed us into their shops, homes and even their fishing boat!

We stayed a nice guesthouse on the shore of the reservoir and our first order of business after checking into our room was to jump in for a refreshing swim. It was supposed to be a quick swim, but the combination of the cool water, hot sun and beautiful surrounding made it last the afternoon. After soaking it up until the evening we arranged for a local Mon man to take us out fishing. It was something Joe has been waiting to do for a long time. We hopped in a canoe, Deb sat in the middle armed with a camera and smile. Joe was up front and had been given the lone fishing pole with the lone lure. It was quite the site as the pole was designed for deep sea fishing and lure for catching small bass and the reel was on backwards, but we made a go of it. Paddling around the reservoir at sunset was worth the trip alone, but having the opportunity to fish in Thailand with a local put the icing on the sundae. It was beautiful and even though we caught only the net of another fisherman (Joe's casting ability was a bit suspect) we had a great time. The Mon guide was all too happy for the business and a bit perplexed Joe could not pull a fish out of the reservoir that feeds an entire town.

Sunday we went to the Burmese border via the small town of Three Pagodas Pass. Simply spectacular. The town is more like a horseshoe of vendors that straddle the border, the front of their store is Thailand and walking out the back door gets you into Burma. Officially, the border is closed. The guards on either side of the crossing did not seem to mind when we slipped behind the gate to snap a few pictures and stake our claim as official visitors to the country. We did not press our luck in venturing further as we knew that Bill Clinton was out of service in terms of rescuing citizens from dictatorships। The vendors were extremely nice people and were successful in gaining some business from our group. Joe made it a memorable Valentine's day as he successfully negotiated a price reduction in a beautiful turquoise bracelet for Deb. Candy hearts were the best Deb could come up with in रेतुर्न

All in all it was a great weekend and one of the most memorable we have had. Our time is short now, two weeks to go. We said goodbye to our group of fellow teachers on Sunday and will most likely not see them until we return to the States. Countless memories have been made and it appears that even more are in the making as we set forth in a few weeks for the rest of our travels around the world.

1 comment:

  1. I love being able to read your blog and catch up on all your adventures. I'm sure you are sad to leave Thailand but the rest of your travels sound amazing! I am definitely jealous and it brings back terrific memories from our time abroad. It's funny when I look at your pictures, especially of natives, children, and the villages/scenario it reminds me very much of Guatemala and how many gorgeous places there are in the world. It sometimes makes me wonder why we live the way we do in the United States (not just in terms of beauty but material goods and our expectations about what we "deserve" as well.) Have a wonderful trip around the world and I'm looking forward to seeing all the pictures!!!